Daydreaming, mind wandering, what have you: it’s all beneficial, according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists from Bar-Illan University in Israel treated participants with transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), “a non-invasive and painless procedure using low-level electricity to stimulate specific brain regions.” As they received tCDS, participants were asked to both track and respond to flashing numerals on a computer screen, as well as measure their spontaneous thoughts on a scale of one to four.

The tCDS was focused on the brain’s frontal lobes, because this particular region has been associated with mind wandering before, Moshe Bar, director of the Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, said in a press release. Bar added the frontal lobes are central to our cognitive control, allowing us to organize and plan for the future.

And for comparision, Bar and his team used the treatment to stimulate the occipital cortex, the brain’s visual processing center, while some participants weren’t treated at all. The results showed mind wandering was unchanged when applied to the occipital cortex or not applied at all; it significantly increased, however, when applied to the frontal lobes.

“Our results go beyond what was achieved in earlier, fMRI-based studies,” Bar said. “They demonstrate that the frontal lobes play a causal role in the production of mind wandering behavior.”

More importantly, instances of mind wandering didn’t harm a participant’s ability to complete their tasks — it actually helped. Bar added this may stem from a sort-of cross-fire of “thought controlling” and “thought freeing” mechanisms in a single brain region.

“Over the last 15 or 20 years, scientists have shown that – unlike the localized neural activity associated with specific tasks – mind wandering involves the activation of a gigantic default network involving many parts of the brain,” he said. “This cross-brain involvement may be involved in behavioral outcomes such as creativity and mood, and may also contribute to the ability to stay successfully on-task while the mind goes off on its merry mental way.”

From here, Bar would like to explore further how external stimulation may affect other cognitive behaviors, such as multitasking. Though in the meantime, his fellow neuroscientists could use these findings to shed some light on the behavior of people suffering from low or abnormal neural activity.

Source: Axelrod V, Rees G, Lavidor M, Bar M. Increasing propensity to mind-wander with transcranial direct current stimulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015.